Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Third Eve of January

I have a cold. My nose is stuffy and my head aches, so excuse me if my post is less than - ah - um - coherent. But I want to reach out, really, I do. It's the third evening of 2011 after all! And if I have am woozy, so be it. (It's probably from the housecleaning hubby and I did all day yesterday, unpacking more boxes, rearranging rooms, dusting, mopping.)

Tomorrow is the 4 week anniversary of the release of Edges. So I have done two things to honor it. Or rather, I have said "yes" to two opportunities . . .

1) Sarah Darer Littman asked me to write something for the Contemps blog: Hot Topic Tuesday.  I chose "addiction" as a "hot" topic. (Surprise, surprise.) I'm a work-in-progress as we all are, wondering how much to reveal to the "public". (I remind myself of my mission: to be authentic and to be of service. It's an organic process.)

2) My buddy Katie Davis interviewed me for her podcast. I was nervous and very excited. First interview! First podcast! We met at Perk's Coffee House in Katonah and chatted like the tape recorder wasn't there. Gave a shout out to Writopia and my Gran. Oh! A HUGE shout out to my Gran! I got a BIG surprise, but I don't want to scoop Katie - you'll have to find out tomorrow!

And I'm thinking about my trip to Madison Connecticut on Thursday evening to R.J.Julia - a fabulous independent bookstore. Will anybody be there? I'm nervous! (Has anybody read Edges? Will anybody? I know a few of you have . . . and your comments and support mean the world to me!)

I should sign off now, before I embarrass myself further . . . time for more tea and bed!


  1. Hello My Friend,


    I did indeed read Edges over Christmas weekend but have been missing most of my usual time on the web over the last few weeks. (Not many Brightsides lately on FB, huh?)

    My favorite lines are the paragraph on the bottom of p 148-149, especially:

    The stars twinkled, the rock vibrated, the air hummed.

    There's something alive in those words.

    And the ending was statisfying without being too tidy.

    The whole story was eye-opening for me. I've heard things from afar/after the fact, but never journeyed with someone during the process of acknowledging addiction or during the height of it. And it's helped me understand my husband more. He was a "functioning alcoholic" (his term) for many years before we were married (after he was clean/sober for one year). The truths seem to be there without being preachy.

    I am curious about how you chose a bear, or how the bear chose you.

    P.S. Remind me to tell you about my ONE experience with alcohol intake. ;)

  2. Thank YOU!

    The bear TOTALLY chose me. Just appeared on the page, in that first frenzied draft. And I couldn't let her go! (Or she wouldn't BE let go . . .) I knew that some people would love her and some would be turned off by that whole mystical element, but that's okay. Writing is about taking risks!

    I hope that you had a wonderful start to the New Year! My cold has turned really nasty, but I did manage to get some writing done today!

    PS I'd LOVE to hear about your ONE experience!

  3. Lena, I've been lurking on your blog for almost a year now. I'm a hugely devoted fan of your beloved grandmother's, indebted to her in ways too many to count, so I was thrilled when I discovered your blog and your imminent first novel. I preordered Edges and had my copy here on THE day. I snarfed it in a day on a semi-unfortunate but well-timed sick day.

    I've already loaned out my copy (which should tell you how I felt about it), so I can't quote from it like Wonderwegian did...therefore, I shall speak from memory.

    I appreciate the fact that your book deals with serious addiction and relational issues without softening the edges or talking down to the intended YA audience, something your grandmother felt VERY strongly about (as did C.S. Lewis, for that matter) and which you have obviously internalized. I'm a high school English teacher in real life, and I know what student readers respond to (real, serious, honest, the "drama" of human life, sincere exploration of questions without pat answers); I will find many readers for Edges in my classes.

    I also appreciated personally the mystical aspects, the spiritual and physical elements coming together. They always do, but our contemporary world seems to prefer things separate and discrete. We have a need for frequent reminders that spirit and earth interweave and are inseparable, and your book serves that need.

    And I concur with Wonderwegian that the end is satisfying without being too tidy, too perfect, or too convenient. Satisfying is exactly the right word.

    I laughed out loud at, "Holy shit, what is this, Outward Bound?"

    And I love, LOVE, the character of Cin. I want to know her, have her rub off on me a little.

    I found the timing of my reading interesting, too, in that I'd recently read several books and articles and had a series of discussions with various friends about AA and recovery. While I've never experienced addiction or AA up close and personal, I have a number of friends and students who have or are. Edges is part of a larger, ongoing, broadening conversation for me.

    I won't be at your Thursday bookstore event, as I'm on the opposite coast, but if you ever head out west (and south a little), I'm so there. I'll even come out on a school night. :-)

  4. Dear concretegodmother,

    I am so happy that you introduced yourself! And thank you so much for such immensely positive and affirming feedback. It really helps me to keep going!

    I am thrilled that you will introduce the teens you work with to Edges, and I LOVE that it will be "part of a larger, ongoing, broadening conversation" for you - YAY!

    AND I have to ask - what is the story behind your moniker, Concrete Godmother? It's awesome!

  5. Sorry for the late response. I'm a weekender, lately, when it comes to blog reading. Thanks for asking about my 'nom de blog.'

    I wish my “handle” had a better origin story. I rather came up with it on the spot. I had a student whom I was mentoring in my early young-and-dumb days of teaching. The student wanted to chat instead of email with me, but in order to be able to do that, I needed an IM account. I had to think of a name pretty quickly. Godmother seemed a somehow appropriate identifier for me. As a teacher, I’m not exactly a mom, but I’m not a stereotypical disconnected teacher of novels and tv, either. Godmother seemed to fit – one who is a sponsor, a guardian, an educator, one responsible for the education and growth of a child. But I couldn’t just call myself the Godmother. Alone, it exuded wannabe gangster aspirations, and besides, it was probably already taken. So I reasoned I needed a modifier. I’ve always been a fan of the on-again-off-again L.A. band, Concrete Blonde. Somehow, for whatever reason, I put the two together -– I live in the city, after all -– and CGM was born.

    Like I said, not too glamorous. I’ll have to create a more fascinating fictional version of this story someday. :-)

  6. I think that's a GREAT story! Thoughtful, meaningful. Two thoughts occurred to me as I was reading:

    1)Concrete implies permanence - and that your love as a godmother is unconditional.

    2)Concrete is the opposite of abstract, and sometimes with all of this tech stuff, I FEEL concrete, so it could be a humorous nod to where you stand with the amorphous ways of the internet!

    Hope you don't mind my musings - I love this stuff!


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